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Top 10 Horror Television Shows

Chloe 31 Comments

The success of horror in film has led to it’s ideas and conventions spilling over onto another medium, television. Horror films have influenced characters, settings and storylines on television for years. I take a look back at what I think have been ten of the best horror television shows.

10. GhostWatch

After its original broadcast, the BBC refused to show Ghost Watch again due to the mass amounts of controversy and complaints the show received. Using celebrities such as Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene and Craig Charles, direct address and phone in options, Ghostwatch managed to convince its viewers that what they were seeing in the haunted house and in the studio was real.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

9. Dead Set

Dead Set bought zombie apocalypses close to home as the walking dead invaded the UK’s Big Brother House. Zombie’s attacked real former Big Brother housemates. Charlie Brooker received a Bafta nominee for this innovative take on zombies. The highlight of the series surely has to be Davina McCall as a zombie.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

8. True Blood

Over a decade after Buffy The Vampire Slayer and during the time of the Twilight success, True Blood comes along turning the vampire subgenre on its head. In the first episode, vampires are shown on television arguing for equal rights. From this moment, it was obvious that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary horror show. Throughout the shows run, it brings several other horror elements in such as Sookie’s supernatural ability to read minds and the introduction of werewolves into the show. Full of modern characters, True Blood gives the genre a complete re-vamping.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

7. Dark Shadows

Before the Tim Burton film, came the original 1966 television series. Dark Shadows was a gothic soap opera focusing on the Collins family. Interestingly, Johnny Depp’s lead role in the film, Barnabus Collins, was not originally in the show. Barnabus Collins bought in larger audiences when he entered the show a year into its run. Dark Shadows is still considered as one of the most popular cult shows.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

6. The League Of Gentlemen

As much as I loved Reece Shearsmith’s and Steve Pemberton’s Psychoville, it’s predecessor The League Of Gentlemen simply cannot be reckoned with. Along with Shearsmith and Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson created horrific yet hilarious characters such as Papa Lazarou and Edward and Tubbs. The show took a new and twisted approach to BBC comedy. A film was made, The League Of Gentlemen’s Apocolypse but this was nowhere near as well received as the series.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

5. Tales From The Crypt

Based on comics, Tales From The Crypt is an anthology series, one of the most successful ways of telling horrific tales. Each week, Tales Of The Crypt brought its viewers a different scary tale. The opening of the show is probably the most memorable thing about it. The show’s host, Crypt Keeper, introduces each week’s creepy and enticing episode.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

4. The Munsters

The average family? Not quite. The Munsters bought a new dynamic to the usual family sitcom, combining horror and comedy. The daughter of the family, Marilyn, is always trying to find a boyfriend, but can she find one that can accept her monstrous family? With just 2 series, the show did not fail to make an impact on the genre with memorable characters including Herman Munster and the audience watched as chaos ensued through Grandpa’s potions. As the oldest show on the list, it ran alongside The Addams Family but in my opinion The Munsters is much more superior.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

3. The Walking Dead

Loved Dawn Of The Dead but wanted more of it? Cue The Walking Dead. When Officer Rick Grimes is shot, he awakens to a new world, a world inhabited by zombies. Loved by fans and critics alike, The Walking Dead brings the zombie subgenre back to life focusing on a group of survivors in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. With the right amount of blood and gore, The Walking Dead goes back to the original slow moving zombie convention which the 2004 remake of Dawn Of The Dead stupidly dismissed. The Walking Dead manages to correctly balance the melodramatic elements, such as the relationships between the survivors, and the horror conventions.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

2. American Horror Story

The most recent addition to the list, American Horror Story uses every horror convention it possibly can to enhance the terror. From the creators of Glee, Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchuck make it their mission to give you a scare each week. Noted as an anthology series, the first season centered around a haunted house whilst the second series focuses on a mental asylum. With a great cast in both series, including Jessica Lange, the show has received numerous accolades.

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

As this list has proven, there have been many great contributions to the portrayal of horror on television. However, it seemed inevitable that Buffy The Vampire Slayer would be top of the list. Every week, Buffy bought its fans new fights, new apocalypses and new monsters, even dying a few times in the process. Buffy faced off with almost every kind of monster from the horror genre there is; vampires, demons, giant insects, hyena infected teenagers, zombies, ghosts, mummies, Gods, witches, werewolves and even Dracula himself! The show even created a horror musical episode. The show pushed the genre boundaries to the extreme. In every generation a slayer is born…no one cared, we just wanted Buffy!

Top 10 Horror Television Shows

Narrowing great horror television series down to ten did not prove easy. There are many other series that have made great contributions to the horror genre such as American Gothic, Angel, Supernatural, Twin Peaks and The X Files to just to name a few!

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31 Comments

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      1. Matthew Hopkins January 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

        buffy? sheesh….

      2. Horror-Movies.ca January 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        Matthew Hopkins ?

      3. Elisabel Isabel January 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        don’t agree

      4. Michelle M. Heitman January 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        Seriously, Ghost Watch and Dead Set over Supernatural? Ooookay.

        • Emancipator January 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

          Ive not seen Ghost Watch, Dead Set or Supernatural myself :)

        • Andrew H January 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

          I will gladly review any season of Supernatural. I’ve got the first 5 on DVD and will finish the collection as they come. It is a fantastic series that has no problem making fun of itself when it needs to.

        • Andrew H January 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm

          I’m a big fan of Supernatural myself, but when you put it against genre defining television series it can be a bit out of place. Personally, I love it and would have liked to see Supernatural (and also X-Files, which bounced the horror/sci-fi line a lot) on this list. The Munsters could have easily been dropped off this list, considering it was a comedy using characters from horror with no actual horror.

      5. Gary Lowe January 27, 2013 at 3:29 pm

        There are several on here that I don’t agree with, placing American Horror Story ahead of Walking Dead I don’t agree with(I , personally, found the AHS boring), The Munsters is “horror” ??,a straight up family comedy show laughingly based on horror characters ,yes, but not really Horror, and another personal opinion, I watched many episodes of Dark Shadows when it originally aired, but I’ve never really ,personally , seen what in the show makes so many people proclaim it a “Classic masterpiece” other than it was kind of groundbreaking for TV. The British shows I can’t comment on, because although knowing of them, I have yet to see them. I will strive to do so in the future.

      6. Dread World January 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Dexter…that is all…

        • Emancipator January 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm

          Dexter rocks!

      7. Marc L. Rissmann January 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm

        Angel and Supernatural should have been on this list, I agree with Gary AHS? season 2 was all over the place. Huge mess, but walking dead should be before that.

      8. Hez Kaminski January 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm

        <3 tales from the crypt

      9. Trey Padgett January 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm

        This list is a joke. How can you leave out Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Werewolf, Tales From The Darkside, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The Hitchhiker, Ray Bradbury theater, Monsters, Friday the 13th, Freddie’s Nightmares,and One Step Beyond.

        • Emancipator January 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm

          awesome choices that could have been added. Why did you have to be a jerk in how you suggested them? Chloe isnt allowed to like different shows then you and me?

        • Trey Padgett January 27, 2013 at 7:23 pm

          I was stating my opinion and most of the shows on this list are crap plain and simple

        • Emancipator January 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm

          let me rephrase then since you seem to have missed my point. Your more then welcome to share your opinion and I respect it. Respect others in turn by not making nasty comments. Make a point with some respect. It is one of our few site rules.

      10. Timothy Kazda January 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm

        yeah this list is a joke the Munsters and Dark Shawdows. yeah somw how you left off The Adams Family. :) lol but in all joking aside like Marc said Supernatural and Angel should have been in the list.

      11. Marigen Beltran January 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm

        Love the list but Ghost Watch seemed more like a movie to me

      12. Trey Padgett January 27, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        crypt. munsters and dark shadows are the only good shows on the list. Omissions of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Monsters, Friday the 13th, Freddie’s Nightmares, One step Beyond, Tales From the Darkside, The Hitchiker, Ray Bradbury Theater, Night Gallery, Werewolf, and The Outer Limits makes it a complete waste of a list.

        • chloehaynes2012 January 28, 2013 at 12:55 am

          Personally, I havent had a chance to see any of them shows hence why they were not included in my list.

      13. Andrew H January 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm

        The only surprising choice here was, The Munsters. With all of the “main stable” horror characters involved in the show, I can understand the inclusion. But, wasn’t it primarily a comedy? I haven’t seen the show since I was a kid (and it was in syndication by that point), but I remember it as being a light hearted, comedic, silly take on the “my family is a bunch of monsters” idea. Also, as someone that isn’t a fan of True Blood (it just never connected with me as a viewer), I could have easily left that off the list. I really appreciate the inclusion of British series on the list. As someone that loves British films and television series, it was nice to see someone step away from the easy American choices.

        • chloehaynes2012 January 28, 2013 at 12:54 am

          Thanks. Yeah I love both British Horror and British Horror Tv shows, they often have a gritty edge to them I find.

      14. chloehaynes2012 January 28, 2013 at 12:53 am

        Obviously I knew this list was going to be controversial but I just simply did what i think are ten of the best horror TV shows.By leaving things off the list, like Angel and Supernatural, it is not that I don’t think they are worthy television shows (I am huge fans of both) but just that, personally, I think that most of these on the list are more genre defining. I chose The Munsters because I think its a really interesting take on a horror idea. This is just a personal list of my some of my favourites :)

        • Andrew Hass January 28, 2013 at 2:31 am

          If you get a chance, have a look at Ultraviolet. That was a really well done British series about vampires. There is another British series that I really enjoyed (Black Comedy with Horror elements that lasted two seasons and one of the main characters was a clown), but I can’t think of the name to save my life.

      15. chloehaynes2012 January 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        Was it Psychoville? The only one I can think of :)

        • Andrew Hass February 1, 2013 at 8:31 pm

          That’s the one! Absolutely loved Psychoville.

      16. Jennifer February 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm

        Personally, if you haven’t seen them, you shouldn’t make a list without the knowing the material.

      17. jmatts78 April 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

        Much as I’ve turned against Vampires in general (thanks Ann Rice… blegh) Buffy is my absolute most favourite TV show. Will always be my #1 no matter what.

        My top 10 horror TV show list would have been quite different from this though. Dif’rent strokes and all that. :)

      18. K Hutch (@72nivek) April 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

        Really liked a series called “Fear Itself”. Has about 13 or so episodes.

      19. Areeb June 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

        what about the vampire diaries? i have watched it and it’s awsum !! should have been included in the list